Finland preparing for eurozone break-up: minister

August 17, 2012 9:03 am


Finland is the only eurozone country to hold the top triple-A credit rating/FILE
LONDON, Aug 17 – Eurozone member Finland is preparing for a potential break-up of the single currency block, the country’s foreign minister said in an interview with a British newspaper published on Friday.

“We have to face openly the possibility of a euro-break up,” the country’s foreign minister Erkki Tuomioja and member of Finland’s coalition government told The Daily Telegraph.

“It is not something that anybody – even the True Finns (eurosceptic party) – are advocating in Finland, let alone the government. But we have to be prepared,” the Social Democratic Party member said.

“Our officials, like everybody else and like every general staff, have some sort of operational plan for any eventuality.”

The Daily Telegraph described Tuomioja’s comments as “the bluntest warning to date by a senior eurozone minister.”

The minister said there was “a consensus that a eurozone break-up would cost more in the short-run or medium-run than managing the crisis.

“But let me add that the break-up of the euro does not mean the end of the European Union. It could make the EU function better,” Tuomioja added.

Finland is the only eurozone country to hold the top triple-A credit rating with a stable outlook at all three major international credit rating agencies.

It has taken a tough line on eurozone bailouts, seeking collateral from Greece and Spain in exchange for its participation.

“It is up to Greeks whether they want to stay in the euro,” Tuomioja said. “We cannot force Greece out. We can cut off lending and that would lead to a default. Then we could speculate whether that would entail getting out of the euro. Nobody knows if it could be contained,” he warned.

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